I glared at other two. I know that everything we’d done so far had been wrong. But if we all kept it cool, and played out the plan, under the veil of ‘National Security’, we’d all be exonerated from blame.
“We’ve got nothing to feel guilty about. Nobody died…” I took a beat. “We acted correctly. It was all above board, in accordance with National Security protocol.”
Nobody spoke. For or against. My colleagues Quentin and Davison were numb. Too much had transpired. All of us just wanted to finish the ‘plan’ and get on with our lives.
I mistook the silence for submission.
“Right. Okay. Good.” I said, clapping my hands together in that typical which always said ‘let’s go to work.’
I watched Quentin turn back to stare at Ellie. Her skin still had a faint blue tinge. She looked deathly peaceful. A shiver ran through him.
“Do you think we’ll ever find out how?” asked Quentin.
“What! How she awoke. I don’t know. What do you think Davison? You’re the ‘so called’ expert here?”
I was tetchy, my sarcasm obvious. It always surfaced when I was faced with something I couldn’t explain. And Ellie was definitely something I couldn’t explain.
Davison took umbrage at the ‘so called expert’ reference. His back stiffened slightly whilst he walked around to the other side of the bed and stared intently at Ellie. He turned his head, ignored me and spoke directly to Quentin. I could see, medically speaking, Davison was on fragile ground.
“I can’t explain it. Maybe, some effect caused by the drugs we gave her reacted with some other unknown agent that was already in her system and delivered the reaction that we observed.”
I felt that uneasiness rise up in me again.
“So, she could have had some drug in her during our interrogation?”
“I don’t know, and to be quite honest, I’ve never in all my life, encountered the situation that occurred today.”
“So what you’re saying is that she could have been loaded, but with a different type of bomb. One that put her into say, a coma, and then triggered a release waking her hours later. Does that sound plausible?” My mind was racing. I knew it, my suspicions were right. She was Al Nadir. And we still had her.
“It’s plausible, but I don’t think she was loaded. She was given NMS, right?”
I nodded. Quentin closed his eyes. I could see he was recalling the interrogation. It wasn’t pleasant memory, Quentin’s face told me that much.
“The process would have detected and identified any agent in her blood that was alien. It’s been designed like that.”
“Shit!” I said. So maybe she wasn’t Al Nadir. Maybe she was just a freak of nature. Which was even more worrying. Just what the hell are you Ellie?
“I’m going to do a full medical test on her. I’ll get to the bottom of it…” said Davison confidently.
“See that you do…” I said roughly.
Quentin had gone quiet, clearly thinking. His face was pensive.
“What if she remembers?” asked Quentin finally.
“She won’t. NMS has that effect.” Davison confirmed.
But I shook my head: “On normal subjects, yes I agree, it has that effect. But with Ellie. What we’ve already seen. We can’t be sure of anything.”
“So what do we do?” said Quentin.
“I think it would be safer for all of us if she had her short term memory wiped permanently.” I delivered my remedy without remorse.
“She could end up brain damaged. Sir, you know that process has ‘errors’.” Shouted Davison, horrified by my suggestion. He looked at Quentin for back up. Quentin remained quiet, but I noticed he was extremely uncomfortable.
“So, that’s the price we pay.” I admitted coldly.
“We don’t pay any price. It’ll be her that pays the price. We’re getting ready to ruin her life.”
Davison’s voice rose higher. I could see he couldn’t hold back. Must be something to do with him being a doctor, but that was no reason for his impertinence.
“My God, Sir, haven’t we done enough to that poor girl. You know what we did to her in that room. I beg you, don’t touch her memory. She’ll be a shell for the rest of her life if you do.”
Davison now was shaking. I’d always seen him as a perfect ‘yes man’. I couldn’t believe he was so affected by that girl. It seemed she’d created a deep connection with the young doctor. I didn’t like such a situation, and I wasn’t going to stand for his insubordination.
“Davison, you may have forgotten but this is about National Security. We are at war. Remember that. And war requires us to take exceptional measures; sometimes those who appear…” I stopped, stared at Ellie. I really didn’t feel she was innocent. There was something more to her, much more, and I dearly wished I could keep her, analyse every piece of her and find out what really made her tick. But unfortunately, I couldn’t. With Sam, I had to be beyond careful. He’d rip me apart as soon as look at me. It wouldn’t matter what my position was. Sam’s blind to all of that when he wants to get things done.
Davison suddenly screamed back at me, pulling me out of reverie:
“National security! She’s only a wife. Not a spy. Not a terrorist. And she’s not Al Nadir. She’s just Sam’s wife. A man who’s put his life on the line for us many times. This all started because you thought Sam was going off the rails. It was you who didn’t trust him. Lord alone knows why, he’s been an unbelievable agent to The Firm. But this stops now, Sir. Right now. No more. Her memory’s already been wiped by NMS. Please, let’s leave it at that. ”
I watched Davison finish his invective. He stared at me, totally exhausted. I straightened and coughed.
“You’re wrong saying all of this started with Sam. Ellie screamed and despite our exhaustive analysis, we could find no reason. That was extremely strange. We thought she could be an assassin or a spy like that Sarah Masters business. But I understand your anxiety.” I conceded awkwardly, “None of us want to cause her any more suffering.”
And then I added brusquely: “But I want those tests to prove conclusively that there is nothing in her system, before she leaves here.”
Davison nodded, but did not meet my eye, impudent little upstart.
“So Davison complete those tests and prep Ellie for transfer. I’ll handle the operational side. Quentin, you need to be on point following the hit. Gentlemen, let’s turn this thing around.” I listened to my voice. It sounded strained.
I’d had enough of the day. I just wanted to see it over. As much as I wanted to analyse Ellie, right now, I wanted her as far away from me as possible.
“Are we all clear?” I said abruptly. Silent nods registered their acceptance.
We just needed to keep calm, and everything would play out well, I thought, as I watched my colleagues depart from the room. That is as long as Sam Noor never discovers the truth.
If he did, no sanctuary, no place on Earth would keep me safe from his retribution.